The Colorado Department of Transportation says that "any amount of marijuana consumption puts you at risk of driving impaired" and warns that you cannot judge your own level of impairment. The official DUID threshold for marijuana is five nanograms of active tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), but officers are expected to base DUID arrests on the things they observe that indicate impairment.
About a year ago, a former client approached our Denver based criminal defense law firm and asked for help setting up a marijuana dispensary. We had to turn him down. A few months later, we were again approached by a group of entrepreneurs looking to establish a legal facility allowing for recreational use of marijuana in their establishment in compliance with the recent Colorado law changes that are about to be implemented on January 1, 2014. We turned them down as well. They wanted to throw gobs of money at us... I still turned them down.
Colorado is just over two weeks away from legal recreational marijuana. While marijuana will be legal in limited amounts, there are still many unknowns. The regulation of an industry that doesn't yet exist, means Colorado will have to create an industry, and learn how to regulated it.
As the dangers of smoking become ever so obvious (through television and radio commercials) the danger behind marijuana smoke has been less than evident. Health advocates are even more concerned after the passage of Amendment 64 which legalized the recreational use of marijuana in Colorado. They believe that the law sends the wrong message to teens; specifically that marijuana is safer than tobacco.
After months of intense debate among city councils about whether to opt-in (or opt-out) of retail marijuana sales, the Colorado legislature will begin reviewing recommendations that will eventually turn into regulations that govern such sales.
The United States Supreme Court just ruled that police cannot bring drug-sniffing dogs onto one's property without first obtaining a search warrant. Though many have argued that this would not technically be considered a search, there is likely little other reason that law enforcement officers would have the dogs on the property if the dogs were not being used to find illegal contraband.
The Denver City Council is in the process of gathering information on how to implement Amendment 64, the initiative Colorado voters approved in November to allow recreational use of marijuana. Under the new law, cities have the option of "opting out" and not allowing for-profit dispensaries. In our previous posts, we have mentioned a few municipalities that are uncertain about whether they will include retail outlets.
In a prior post we reported on how some Colorado communities were ambivalent about welcoming marijuana retailers into their cities. City councils in Broomfield and Superior were considering bans on such stores, at least until the state created detailed regulations about how licenses would be granted.
After voters approved a measure legalizing the recreational use of marijuana, many municipalities were unsure of how to implement rules to regulate its proper use. Some towns and cities are drafting rules to limit businesses that sell marijuana, and some are considering whether to ban them altogether.
With the legalization of small amounts of marijuana in Colorado, it will still likely be some time before determinations as to how much THC can be in the blood system while at the same time legally operating a motor vehicle. Yet with all the haggling that is likely to go on concerning acceptable THC limits, arrests for driving while under the influence of marijuana will continue.